Warmly Welcomed? Not!

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

John 1:10-12 NIV

One crisp autumn day several years ago, a dear friend of my wife’s invited us out for dinner. We drove to a very fine restaurant located in the southern Berkshire’s, but our friend did not feel a reservation would be needed in advance. When we arrived, the parking lot was full, but we were in no hurry and we were expecting to spend a few hours together over an exceptionally fine dinner. We got out of the car, and walked past a group of friendly well-dressed people eating hors d’oeuvres. They told us just to “go on in” and as we were looking for the welcome desk, a waitress approached us offering something to drink. We asked for a table, but then were informed that this was a private party, a wedding reception actually, but we had no idea for whom. Embarrassed, we politely turned around and slinking out the door made our way to the car.

I wonder sometimes how Jesus Christ feels during the Advent season when we are presumably celebrating His birth. Does He feel like an unwelcomed visitor whose presence is merely an excuse for people to party and indulge themselves?  If Jesus were to enter your home or mine, and found us celebrating, would He be wondering, do I belong here, or do I even want to be here? It behooves us then, (I think) to take a step back, take a deep breath and ask ourselves, why we are celebrating, and to be sure that the celebrating is ultimately about Him. After all, the cliché is true, “He is the reason for the season!”

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Ed has had over 30 years of ministry experience, sixteen of them at Greenwoods Community Church in the southern Berkshires of Massachusetts. More recently he has fulfilled an extended transitional interim assignment for the Alliance Southeast of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Leesburg, Florida. In addition, Ed has had nearly 13 years of experience in the field of geriatric healthcare. Ed’s is happily married to Lynn, having recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Lynn is a true partner in ministry, having served Greenwoods Community Church as its Children's Ministry Coordinator for over ten years. She is a decorator, colorist, instructor in furniture painting, and an artist in her own right. For over 20 years she had her own business, Whimsical Brushes, teaching and traveling throughout the Northeast. Lynn is also active as a women’s outreach speaker for Stonecroft Ministries in Florida. God has given Ed a burden to be a mentor pastor, developing leaders for the church in the 21st Century. One way in which he is fulfilling that calling is through Rockbridge Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor of Spiritual Formation. Ed has earned degrees from Cairn University (B.S. 1971), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M. 1979), and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min. 2007). He has published several articles on the Spiritual Heritage of Litchfield County, Connecticut, and led several tours of sites associated with the Village Revivals that spawned the Second Great Awakening in New England. In his spare time, you are likely to find Ed at the piano or pecking out a blog on his blog page https://hiddenarrows.blog

3 thoughts on “Warmly Welcomed? Not!”

  1. Hi Ed
    I’ve enjoyed your devotions and look forward to the next. The time you spent at Greenswoods bore much fruit. We are building on the work you did here. Thank you for all you did for us. May you and Lynn have a joyful and blessed Christmas.
    John Campbell


  2. Thanks for this thought provoking piece Dr. E. It has reminded me of a mentor I had in the faith years ago who asked, “If Jesus walked into your workplace and asked your co-workers about your faith, what would they say?”
    That had a great impact on me then, and your article has been a healthy reminder to honor the Lord in all I do, always!


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